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New Orleans hotels file class action suit against BP

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New Orleans hotels file class action suit against BP

In a sign of mounting concern about the economic impact of the oil spill, several New Orleans hotels filed a class action suit in federal court this week against BP, saying that damage to the Louisiana seafood industry will tarnish the attractiveness of New Orleans as a tourism destination and could lead to lost profits.

Named plaintiffs include the Bourbon Orleans, Astor Crowne Plaza, Marriott Convention Center, Wyndham Riverfront, St. Louis, St. Ann Marie Antoinette and the Dauphine Orleans hotels, most of which are owned by investor groups led by Joe Jaeger, president of Mechanical Construction Co.

The hotels say they expect their earnings capacity to be damaged. “Plaintiffs and many members of the Proposed Class have invested significant time, money and other resources into branding, marketing and/or advertising the New Orleans metropolitan area as an attractive tourist destination for many reasons, including its reputation for plentiful, fresh seafood and/or, in particular, local seafood, Louisiana seafood, and/or seafood from the Gulf of Mexico,” the suit reads.

A group of restaurants including 1179 and Franky & Johnny filed a similar suit last week saying that they are having difficulty obtaining local seafood, are paying more money for it, and are losing customers.

Kelly Schulz, vice president of communications and public relations at the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau said with a busy convention month this month, member companies aren’t reporting losing business, but they say that they haven’t been receiving as many inquiries since the oil spill.

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